Introducing 352 North Union Avenue

352 North Union Avenue site

Containers sit on the proposed site. Some “container parks” are cool. This is not one of those.

Tuesday evening, interested residents of Chicago’s west side were ushered into the basement of Old St. Pat’s Church to get their first look at a new apartment tower proposed to nestle between the K2 residential building and the railroad tracks in the 300 block of North Halsted Street.

352 North Union Avenue was introduced by Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Neighbors of the West Loop. Cardiff Mason Development Inc hopes to put up a 38-story rental tower on the site, consisting of 373 dwelling units and 158 parking spaces.

Larry Gage, president of NOWL, began the night by explaining what went wrong with the last proposal for this site, and what has been done to address the reasons that project was shut down in the court of public opinion. That original building included no public space/amenities (not the way to endear your project to locals), had over 500 units, egress onto an already-congested North Halsted Street, and enough parking spaces for a small stadium. It was all fairly quickly dispatched as not being in the best interest of the community. The new project includes a large, open-to-the-public dog park, three means of entry/exit, a tall, narrow design instead of a long, shorter profile, and significantly reduced units and parking.

Brian Kidd, of Chicago architecture firm and designer of this project Pappageorge Haymes (yes, you know them as the design firm behind the aforementioned K2, as well as many current Chicago projects) led the audience through details of 352 North Union. Highlights included the dog park, the main entrance not being on Halsted Street (it will instead be off Union Avenue, and a third means of egress using Green Street.

The number of parking spaces was a topic of concern, an issue occurring with nearly every proposal these days. But not in the way normally seen at community meetings. This crowd was insistent that 158 parking spaces were far too many for this 373-unit project. Two neighboring residents commented on seeing inside the parking floors at K2 from their homes, and it is consistently empty. Well, you have never seen a prouder alderman than the honorable Mr. Reilly, who greatly appreciated that these folks “get it.”

The units in 352 North Union Avenue, all rentals, would consist of studio/efficiencies (30%), 1-bed (40%), 2-bed (20%), and 3-bedrooms (5%). Size would range from 400-500 square feet for the studios, to 1400-1600 square feet for the 3-bedroom units. A green roof will help achieve the LEED certification for the project. With the growing demands of today’s renters, expect the building to be loaded with amenities for humans to go with that pretty new dog park.

If allowed to proceed, developers hope to have their tower ready for move-in some time in 2018.

Location: 352 North Union Avenue, Fulton River District

Author: Daniel Schell

Daniel Schell is a West Loop social media addict who lives for Cubs baseball, good pizza, and big cities. If you bump into him on the street, it's likely because he's taking photos instead of watching where he's going, and he apologizes.

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